You know how sometimes a particular song or smell or taste brings us back to a certain period of time in our life? The fresh smell of Sanex takes me back to my agonizing first year in boarding school. The thick texture of amoxicillin relives my childhood, where I paid uncountable visits to see the doctor. I imagined the syringe as a giant mosquito, sucking out vials of blood. The way Oreos blackened my teeth recalls the good times I had with friends I now call sisters. We would sit and lie on the floor in our dorm and talk about anything and everything. Innocent voices describing dreams. Full of hope, full of faith. Ignorant to the then unforeseeable pain that awaits ahead.
Pain galvanizes us. Makes our thin skin thicker, our fragile bones stronger. It gives us the power to sense it when it is near. It trains us to smell deceiving danger in the form of cloaked hypocrisy. It keeps us awake and aware of the reality that friendship can transform into rivalry but true comradeship knows no end. Relationships have expiration but love lasts forever. And family, no matter how crazy or dysfunctional it may be, it is our pulse, our heartbeat. It will always be.
Pain galvanizes us. It makes us glow in the dark and teaches us to pick up only what makes us stronger. There are things I wish I had not done, chances I wish I didn't take. But I know I have grown up so much within these past three years. I have learned to embrace both pain and joy. I have gathered the strength to forgive myself for the pain I have inflicted upon me and others, forgive those who have hurt me and forget those who are better off gone anyway. I have learned to thank those who make my life hard as much as those who make it beautiful. For they both made me stronger in their own way.
So to you, all of you. Thank you.
"And the recompense to evil is punishment like it,
but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah,
surely He does not love the unjust."